Thousands protest work conditions at South Africa platinum mine, 1 more killed in violence

MARIKANA, South Africa — Several thousand miners met on a rocky hillside to protest their work conditions at a South African platinum mine on Tuesday, as a middle-aged man lay dead less than 100 meters (330 feet) away where violence had already killed nine other people.

The man had been bludgeoned to death near the Lonmin PLC mine outside of Marikana, about 70 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of Johannesburg. It was unclear who killed the man and the people around him would not give any details.

Police drove through the area earlier Tuesday, pausing only to look at the gathered miners from a distance. They then drove off.

The Lonmin mine operation appeared shut down, and protesters laid razorwire to reinforce gates that surround the mills.

Hundreds more people carrying pipes and sticks walked from nearby shantytowns to join the protests, as a police helicopter circled overhead.

Earlier Tuesday, angry miners attacked journalists in vehicles at the site. The miners hit cars with sticks and pipes.

Protests began Friday at the mine when workers walked off the job over a salary dispute, Lonmin said in a statement. The fighting intensified Monday as part of a larger struggle between two unions.

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